Friday, 16 September 2016

UK: Damned if you do...

It is not for me to defend a Tory ex-Prime Minister, but one of the benefits of hindsight, is people's poor memory of circumstances and selective recall of 'facts', totally out of context.

For all Cameron's later failings over Libya, the initial urgency to prevent murder on what was shaping to be a monumental scale, should not be understated.

When a regime which was capable, and willing, to murder 1,270 prisoners in secret, then describes protesters as rats and cockroaches, and announces that rebels should surrender (their weapons) or face "slaughter" [Gaddafi also threatened to purge Libya "house by house" and "inch by inch"] we must conclude that the outcome would have been bloody, possibly beyond our feeble imagination.

Those who now complain that there was large loss of life in any case, might be too young to remember, or even care, about what happened in Cambodia in the mid 1970's, or Rwanda in the mid 1990's, but those of us forced to live through the utter and callous complacency of Western leaders and governments to what was happening, are not so dismissive of the sometimes need for humanitarian intervention.

We are also old enough to know that 'intervention' is more usually a euphemism for regime change or other geopolitical maneuvering, and that is why acting over Libya was so important, because most dictators go to great lengths to hide their murderous instructions and cover-up the deeds of their followers, so it is rare to have a situation where military action is so clearly called for.

The aftermath of such an intervention is quite another matter, and the subsequent abandonment of Libya to the Islamic State is part of an ongoing, global distress.